49 pit bulls rescued from alleged dogfighting ring, Tacoma man arrested

Nearly 50 pit bulls were rescued from an illegal dog fighting and breeding operation at a home in Tacoma earlier this week.

A 40-year-old Tacoma man is now under arrest. He was contacted by Pierce County Animal Control after they received a tip that multiple pit bulls lived at the residence and appeared to be starving. The tipster said they were possibly being used for breeding, too.

An animal control officer went to the property and asked to see some of the dogs. According to a post from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, the man showed the officer six dogs.

All of them were reportedly malnourished, had wounds and scars and were afraid of the owner. Three of the dogs appeared to have given birth to puppies within the past six months.

On Wednesday, officers served a search warrant with the assistance of the Sheriff’s Department, the Washington State Gambling Commission and the Seattle Animal Shelter.

During the search, officers found dozens of dogs locked in crates inside a garage with no ventilation or lighting. They were found sitting in their own urine and feces.

Officers also found paraphernalia associated with dog fighting and breeding, including medications, syringes, first-aid supplies and training tools.

Animal Control ultimately seized 49 dogs from the property, including puppies. Most of the dogs were rated as being in poor or very poor body condition. The Sheriff’s Department said 11 of the dogs needed medical attention and were transported to a local vet. The others were taken to the Tacoma Humane Society.

The suspect, who has not been identified by authorities, was booked into the Pierce County Jail on first-degree animal cruelty and animal fighting charges.

“Dog fighting is a brutal blood sport that is almost always operated solely for the purpose of conducting illegal gambling,” said Washington State Gambling Commission Director Dave Trujillo. “Thanks to a tip from an alert citizen, we’re able to shut down this criminal operation and rescue dozens of dogs.”